Posted September 17, 2015 by Derek Vicente in Gaming

Player safety will affect Pokémon GO’s road to greatness

Pokémon GO

We’re excited to do what this guy is doing. Photo courtesy of gameinformer.com

Here’s a fact that even police authorities will wholeheartedly agree to: pickpockets love seeing people use their smartphone in the open. There had been a lot of news reports that shockingly revealed how thieves would murder somebody who they spotted using a smartphone in a place where security is lackadaisically missing. Police are having an entirely difficult time controlling the rising frequency of such criminal activities, mainly because we could not let go of the empowering convenience and technology stored within our mobile devices.

Pokémon GO is the Pokémon game that we have all been waiting for. There is one big issue that Nintendo needs to address first though.

Without the right security, Pokémon GO is a dangerous game to play outside

Nintendo’s announcement of Pokémon GO was met with intense joy and speculation. Seeing an army of trainers converge at Times Square and engage Mewtwo in battle felt like watching a live-action adaptation of Pokémon. That part of the trailer gave away a distant preview of how Pokémon GO will be played globally.

There are, however, associated dangers and culture shock that Pokémon GO could instill to the public, if left unguarded. For instance, pantomiming the action of catching Pokémon at a bus terminal would look ridiculously off-putting for people who did not grow up watching Ash throw a Poké Ball on a staggered Pidgey. It may take a while for people to embrace the core gameplay principles and functions that Nintendo and Niantic have innovated for Pokémon GO. And if that happens, the franchise could experience a renaissance never felt before in countries where Poké-related activities are widely recognized and participated by a large community of fans.

Player security is the biggest social conundrum that Nintendo will have to face in marketing Pokémon GO worldwide. Will Nintendo prevent Pokémon from appearing in high-density areas like supermarkets or train stations? Will there be unique locations where a rare Pokémon like Moltres has been pre-programmed to appear? These restrictions are acceptable. In the video games, Pokémon can only be encountered in grassy areas, caves, and beaches. Nintendo would not be taking away the full Pokémon experience if certain limitations will be applied from how the game links itself with the real world, thus protecting players from fatal harm. 

Pokémon GO is augmented reality, not an alternate universe, so it’s essential that Nintendo realizes how the game will fit the microcosm of an emerging mobile marketplace. The concept is relatively unexplored and rarely discussed throughout the industry of smartphone gaming.

We saw a guy catch a Pikachu at an alleyway, therefore suggesting to players that Pokémon can be virtually captured anywhere. Planting Pokémon sightings in condensed spaces will only bring forced interruption and disapproval from law enforcers; Nintendo should carefully explore how encounters will be choreographed and do it convincingly well. Becoming a Pokémon Master in the real world requires tremendous effort and legwork, and Nintendo needs to realize the risks involved first.

Mewtwo Pokémon


Derek Vicente

Derek has been with Flipgeeks for almost three years. His first video game was Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Saturn and after blowing their television set after playing too much Rambo, he has set on a journey to play some of the best (and worst) role-playing games ever spawned. He recently completed Wild Arms 2 without any cheat codes.